Johnson & Johnson Start-Up Incubator JPOD Hosts Five Engineering Companies

On Nov. 1, Penn launched a new partnership between the University and Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the health care giant’s collaborative arm. Known as JPOD @ Philadelphia and based in the Pennovation Center, JPOD is a start-up incubator designed to accelerate innovative health care technologies.

Of JPOD’s first seven resident businesses, five are operated by Penn Engineering faculty, students or alumni.


Allevi makes 3D bioprinters and bioinks, which allow scientists to engineer and manufacture living 3D tissues. Members of the Allevi team, including CEO Ricky Solorzano, a bioengineering major, won the 2014 Pennvention tech innovation competition. The team moved into the Pennovation Center in 2017.


Avisi Technologies also has its roots in campus innovation competitions. As Team Visiplate, juniors Brandon Kao of Engineering and Rui Jing Jiang and Adarsh Battu of Wharton won the 2017 Y-Prize for their plan to use ultrathin nanoscale plates, developed by mechanical engineering’s Igor Bargatin, in a device for treating glaucoma. The team would go on to win the President’s Innovation Prize in 2018.


Greppo Technologies is developing unique steerable needle technologies capable of making multiple acute turns with one access, while navigating around vulnerable structures, to deliver minimally invasive cancer diagnosis and treatments. It was founded by modular robot expert Mark Yim, professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics and Director of the Integrated Product Design program.


Andrew Tsourkas, professor in the Department of Bioengineering, is an expert in designing nanoparticles that can locate and bind to tumors. Along with colleagues from the Perelman School of Medicine, Jay Dorsey and David Cormode, Tsourkas founded PolyAurum, a spin-off company that uses tiny polymer-coated gold particles to improve radiation treatments for cancer.


Prohibix is an early stage company developing injectable therapeutics that locally prevent the progression of tissue degenerative diseases and preserve quality of life. Spun-out of research by Jason Burdick, Robert D. Bent Professor in Bioengineering, Prohibix’s hydrogel-based drug delivery technology aims to target a critical mediator of many diseases including cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, and chronic ulcers